April 15th. 2023
Shinshu Tsutakijuku provided a reasonable night, even in the rain that started around midnight. There were quite a number of overnight guests. Come the morning all vehicles converged on the parking spaces nearest the toilets.
Michi no eki Kobuchizawa
We leave, in relentless rain and drive a few kilometres to michi no eki Kobuchizawa to take a look as, we have heard, it has a bakery. It does have a large prominent chain bakery which specializes in fancy, expensive, sweet things but does not really sell bread.
Inside the michi no eki building is a much more modest, real bakery. This offers serious bread, baguettes and crusty loves of various sizes and denominations. It even has a section for those of a vegan persuasion. A rare find.
Matsumoto City Museum of Art
As it is a day of persistent rain, we follow the Echo line, Route 484 and head towards Matsumoto. This city appears to have serious traffic problems. We recall traffic from a previous visit and this time it was very bad. OK it is Saturday and pouring with rain, but the place was approaching gridlock.
Eventually, we arrive at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art and can see that the car park is full. However, it takes so long to crawl the last few metres that someone leaves just as we reach the entrance, and we are waved inside.
There is a special exhibition of William Morris and Frank Lloyd Wright, but we opt to view only the permanent collection. This features work by Kusama Yayoi as she was born in Matsumoto in 1929.
I confess, I am not a fan of her work but some of her mirror installations were interesting. More to my tastes was the work of less celebrated artists. Painting by Tabuchi Toshio and Nakano Yoshiyuki, plus the sculpture of Hosokawa Munehide. There was also some very striking calligraphy by Kamijo Shinzan.
＊Matsumoto City Museum of Art ; 410 yen / adult
After leaving via the museum shop, into the still persistent rain, we crawl out of Matsumoto to michi no eki Azumino Matsukawa. This is a small michi no eki with excellent facilities. We are lucky on a wet night to find a parking space next to the handicapped parking which has a roofed walkway to the toilets. Sometimes the Gods smile on the unworthy.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.